The worst came true Wednesday for Cubs relief pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa, who must undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
The Japanese star who was signed to a two-year, $9.5 million deal, will miss the rest of the season, the latest injury setback for the pitching staff.
No date for the surgery is set yet, but general manager Jed Hoyer said the team is hopeful he can return next summer.
For now, though, the bullpen must shuffle again.
``Everyone has their injuries,'' manager Dale Sveum said.
``Obviously we get hit with a big blow. But other people have to step up and fill big shoes.''
He said Carlos Marmol, who has been pitching well of late, will go into the setup role with lefty James Russell. Rafael Dolis and newly acquired Alex Burnett will be middle inning pitchers.
``Any time somebody leaves, someone else has to step up,'' said closer Kevin Gregg, whose acquisition last month has turned into a major one for the team. ``Carlos has been throwing well, so he can step up.
``But it's a big blow because [Fujikawa] has experience late in games and he was throwing well.''
Fujikawa had trouble immediately as the season began, and went on the disabled list in mid-April with what was described as a right forearm strain. He returned May 10 and pitched well in his last seven appearances--until walking off his last outing in Cincinnati Sunday shaking his arm.
He was put on the disabled list again, with a subsequent MRI revealing the elbow ligament tear.
``We could tell early in the season the guy we saw wasn't the guy we knew,'' Hoyer said of Fujikawa's problems.
The Cubs also have reliever Shawn Camp sidelined with a strained right big toe while Scott Baker, who was signed as a starter in the off season, remains on the 60 day disabled list continuing to recuperate from Tommy John surgery he had in April, 2012.
Another pitching prospect, Arodys Vizcaino, who was acquired from Atlanta last season at the trade deadline in the deal involving pitcher Paul Maholm, also continues to recover from Tommy John surgery from March, 2012.
He had a setback this week requiring arthroscopic debridement surgery near the elbow, pushing back his rehab another six weeks.
``Unfortunately guys get hurt,'' Gregg said. ``You don't wish it on anyone. [Fujikawa] was out there battling.
``The whole team has a flow, not just the bullpen,'' he said. ``With the injuries we've had, it disrupts the whole team. Hopefully we can get through it and start to win more games.''
Tommy John surgery for Fujikawa in latest Cubs setback
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